No this is not a post about Bon Jovi, it’s a post about living with a chronic disease. Unfortunately I’m one of those people living with a chronic disease; on the outside I may look fine, upbeat, laughing and motoring along without a care in the world. Inside I may be dying to take a quick nap or just get my feet up to get the swelling down. It’s just one of those things – I call them a “life” card. Today I got a Joker from the deck.
I’ve been working about 6 weeks now and I’m not going to lie, after being at home for 5 years, adjusting to work has been brutal. Some days it takes 110% effort to get out the door and try to get there on time. I keep telling myself I’ll adjust and I know I will. Thank God Lance understands when I walk in the door and collapse for a nap or I just go to bed. The kicker is my primary doctor that I loved and relied on to keep me going left my network and my brilliant, compassionate gastrointestinal doctor retired at the same time. Soooooo I have to wait until July to see my new primary doctor and it’s been brutal. Today was the day – my body just decided it was not going to cooperate and it was going to shut down for the day.
Whether you live with a chronic disease or not, you must listen to your body and watch for signs of an overload. If you don’t, your body will slap you down and you WILL listen. Feed it well with nutritious protein based foods – eat breakfast, lunch and dinner! Yeah that sounds easy but working a new schedule and trying to make a good impression can lead to rushing out of the house with no fuel in the tank, to missed lunches and all of a sudden, you are dead tired and cannot think! Breakfast is tough for me, but I am trying to eat lunch everyday.
Everyone working at a new job wants to do well. Making a good first impression is very important – being on time, being alert and ready to work and producing top-notch work product is essential. It is so hard at times to do any of these, much less all of them, if you’re in a flare or your body is fighting you in everything you do. So what’s your natural response? Stress of course!!! What is the WORST thing for someone with a chronic disease? STRESS OF COURSE!!!
I decided to be honest and upfront about my chronic disease with my new employers for several reasons. That in itself was a major decision because I felt that it made me look weak, like a loser, and like I’m not a good investment. I took a huge leap of faith doing so. However, I KNOW myself and I KNOW my work product is not weak or produced by a loser. I know what I’m doing and I’m good at it. My body is flawed but my mind and work ethic are not. I take pride in that fact.
Today my body won. I had to stay home. I hadn’t been listening to it or watching for signs (OK I saw some signs but kept moving forward). Will it happen again? Probably, but getting back on track with my new doctor will be a huge help. She’ll have answers and push me in the right direction. She’ll tweak my medications and I hope to take off running. But I’ll always have a chronic disease. That’s just life.
My employers have been understanding and I’m very appreciative. I am a good investment of their time and money. I’m loyal and dedicated. If I can be at work I will be and I’ll do my best.
The moral to this story is two-fold: your body will decide how much or how little you will do based on how you treat it AND you never know what a person is dealing with behind the scenes. Take care of yourself and be kind to everyone. If you’re healthy, keep it that way! If you suffer from a chronic disease, do your best and listen to your body.
Tomorrow is another day! Onward and blessings……